I was wondering about the difference between "ab nun", "ab sofort" and "ab jetzt".
I think that most of the time, speaking, I just heard "ab jetzt".
Are the other two expression the same? Or is there a difference in usage? In case what is it?

  • 4
    I'd say ab nun is wrong; but it may be regional.
    – chirlu
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 15:27
  • 2
    According to Wortschatzportal, the order of frequency is "ab sofort" > "ab jetzt". "Ab nun" has zero entries. My first thought was that "ab nun" is wrong (as @chirlu said, too), but I guess it's just a bit weird because not that common. You find a lot of entries on the Internet, though. Anyway, regarding your question: no difference at all.
    – Em1
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 15:29
  • To my ears, 'ab sofort' sounds a bit more strict / authoritarian than 'ab jetzt', but that may be personal taste. Me, too, i have never heard 'ab nun'
    – Burki
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 15:32
  • I found ab nun here: dict.cc/?s=ab+nun+
    – E.V.
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 16:24
  • There is nothing wring with ab nun. The same is true with mit sofortiger Wirkung, _von nun an or _nunmehr, of course. They are all just more or less fancy ways of saying from this point forward ...
    – Ingmar
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 16:26

1 Answer 1


ab nun

I never heard »ab nun«. I think it is correct, but rarely used. And since I never heard it, I am not able to tell what it should mean exactly. (I live in Austria, and here the word »nun« is much rarer used then in Germany, so when I say I did not hear this phrase, then this has not much to say.)

ab sofort

»Ab sofort« means »from this second on«.
Imagine a moderator of a life TV show who says at the end of a telephone voting:

Die Telefon-Leitungen sind ab sofort wieder geschlossen.

This means:

The telephone lines are closed again from now on.

And it means that they was open until the moment when he said this sentence, so »ab sofort« has a very accurate meaning.

ab jetzt

Now imagine an author of a book who says at an interview:

Mein neues Buch gibt es ab jetzt auch im Buchhandel zu kaufen.

It means:

My new book is available in book stores from now on.

But it doesn't mean that it was not available before he said this sentence. Most probably the book is available in 90 % of all stores since yesterday, and in the rest of the shops it will be available soon.

So in »ab jetzt« the word »jetzt« must be interpreted much less accurate then »sofort« in »ab sofort«.

On the other hand, the moderator could also have said

Die Telefon-Leitungen sind ab jetzt wieder geschlossen.

and the audience also would understand that they was open just before he said this sentence, but when he says »sofort«, it feels sharper and more precise.

Also the Author could have said:

Mein neues Buch gibt es ab sofort auch im Buchhandel zu kaufen.

And also hear everybody would understand that the books are not rolled out in this very second. So the context has a much stronger influence on the meaning then the words in the phrase.

When the author says »ab sofort«, then it sounds more like an invitation to buy this book.

Maybe the focus of »ab sofort« is more like »The Future is beginning exactly in this moment!« while »ab jetzt« has more the flavor of »The past ends now, in this days.«

nota bene:
»Jetzt« and »sofort« are beside the just discussed phrases not interchangeable. It's similar to the closest English translations: »Jetzt» is »now« and »sofort« is »immediately«, and there are not much usages of those words where you can replace one with the other.

  • 1
    In commercial you can find "ab nun erhältlich/verfügbar". I think it is very rare in colloquial German and you would never say "ab nun" as a stand-alone phrase; this is why it sounds odd and unfamiliar to most of us (even in Germany). Anyway, I don't feel that strong that "ab jetzt" roughly means "already since yesterday" and "ab sofort" roughly corresponds to "from this minute". I mean, in colloquial I would rather go with "ab jetzt" at any rate; it doesn't matter if it was true yesterday or just from this very second.
    – Em1
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 7:18

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